How to create a social media app: The comprehensive guide to make successful

Social media apps have already taken over a large portion of our lives. Additionally, the application market and their popularity is growing. With the increased use of smartphones around the world, opportunities for social networks are also increasing. As a result, many entrepreneurs cannot miss the opportunity. If you are one of them, you have found the right place. In this article, ArrowHiTech will show you how to create a social media app. In case you want to be fully prepared for the overall process. So you should read this article carefully.

Before coming to the How to create a social media app, we will go together to explore Definition of a social network

What is a social network?

How to create a social media app

When coming to the term “social media app,” you might think of apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Linkedin. A social network is an online platform where people can build social relationships with people with similar interests, backgrounds, or real-life connections with other people. It was  designed to help people connect with others. Besides that, it is also an effective marketing tool. Users can communicate with people in their network by sharing ideas, photos, videos, and posts, as well as informing them about online or offline activities.

A new feed, which showcases the latest updates from friends or groups, is one of the important features of a social network. Moreover, it is a messaging service that allows users to communicate directly with one another. Furthermore, it is a profile in which people can show personal information such as name, age, or career. It is often accompanied by images, clips.

Moreover, social media platforms offer an easy user interface, an open forum for connecting with people from all over the world. Therefore, these features are essentially the foundation of a social media app.

Development of Social Media.

development of a social media app

In 2019, there are thousands of social networks to select (with key leaders such as Facebook or Twitter). The social media platform statistics 2019 show the following leaders in different countries, according to App Annie Report Social Media Network 2019 Statistics:

WhatsApp MessengerSnapchatWhatsApp MessengerSnapchatWhatsApp Messenger
SnapchatFacebookSnapchatWhatsApp MessengerSnapchat
FacebookFacebook MessengerFacebookFacebookFacebook
Facebook MessengerPinterestFacebook MessengerFacebook MessengerFacebook Messenger

Social networking users have increased by more than 10% in the last year. This brought the worldwide total to 3.96 billion by the beginning of July 2020.

It means that more than 50% of the population in the world now uses social media. Moreover,99% of total social media users connect these platforms through a mobile app at a certain point.

Therefore, this opens up a huge opportunity for you to rapidly develop your community. This will help you monetize your users with your own social media app.

Furthermore, here are some powerful ideas for using your social media app to impact purchasing decisions.

Create a social media app

Types of social media apps

These are the most popular kinds of social media you should consider:

Apps for social networking

These kinds of apps allow users to connect and communicate with other users on the internet. As a result, users can use the social networking apps for personal purposes like Facebook or for professional communication like Twitter, LinkedIn.

Networks for sharing media

Thanks to this kind of app, users can share a variety of media files from photos to videos, GIF files and much more. Besides that, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Vimeo, and Imgur are the most well-known examples of this type.

Consumer review networks

Customers can use these social media apps to search and review businesses with which they have had dealings. Moreover, Yelp is most likely one of the most well-known examples in this category.

Forums for community and discussion

These platforms are excellent for asking questions and receiving responses. Moreover, it is the best for sharing news, ideas, insights, and knowledge. Furthermore, Quora and Reddit are great examples for you to consider.

Networks for bookmarking and content curation

Thanks to these apps, users can share their own content as well as discover and save the content of other users. Furthermore,  Pinterest, Mix, and Flipboard are examples of this type of social media.

Platforms for blogging and publishing

Users can create their blogs and publish them on these social media platforms. Additionally, Tumblr and Medium are highly popular right now, with thousands of people publishing their posts there on a daily basis.

Networks based on interests

This type of social networking brings together people who share common interests. Therefore, people can upload their hobbies and related experiences. So let’s check out Goodreads or as examples.

Social networking sites that are anonymous

Teens especially enjoy this type of social network. Because it allows them to communicate anonymously with one another. Besides that, Whisper,, and After School are some of the most popular apps in this category.

As you can see, there are a variety of social media apps available. Therefore, you should focus on these categories. Because each of them has the main features of the apps. When you’ve decided on a plan of action, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched and analyzed your potential competitors. So the next step is to review the most recent social media trends.

Trends are important to be aware of and adhere to in order to keep your social media app modern and feasible. If you want to build an online app, here are the 2021 social media trends to keep an eye on:

Face filters and AR

Snapchat and Instagram are the trend setters in this area. People keep enjoying the funny face filters. More importantly, they seem not to go anywhere.

Chatbots and AI

These are also not new social media trends. They were popular in 2017, However, they are still in high demand.

Live stream (live videos)

This feature is already available in the most popular social media apps. Users prefer to watch live videos rather than read social media posts.

Because users today prefer watching videos to writing posts. Due to their lack of time and visual information it is simpler to understand.

Story Content 

This content is available for up to 24 hours before disappearing from your feed. Once again, Snapchat and Instagram are the market leaders. Additionally, Stories have increased the amount of time people spend on these social apps. Isn’t it a nice way to attract users?

Pay attention to Generation Z.

According to researchers, Millennials aren’t any longer the most influential audience. However, they will be pushed to the side by a new generation, Generation Z who was born after 1998. Therefore, if you’re thinking about how to make a social media app right now, make sure you’ve considered the needs of the new influential generation, Gen Z.

Social media content creation

People (and businesses) are increasingly excited to share their content with as many people as possible. Furthermore, websites are no longer the only place to create content. Users of good social media apps already have the option of publishing content.

After you’ve decided on a niche and researched trends to follow when creating a social media app, it’s time to focus on apps available, design, and development.

NOTE: During COVID19 Pandemic, Software developed for the healthcare industry is also on the rise around the world. Therefore, you can also learn how to create a medical app from scratch.

Important information you should know

With the fast development of technology and the rise of no-code product development, there are more options for quickly creating social media apps. Finally, when it comes to developing your social media app, there are four options available. Each of them has a set of advantages and disadvantages. We’ve broken down your options for you below:

SaaS Solution

SaaS platforms offer unique features. Therefore, you can use to create your own social network via web and mobile. Furthermore, you can personalize the appearance, speed up time for loading. For that reason, you can monetise your content based on your preferences.

Open-source software

You can download and install open-source software on your own server. There are both free and paid options. Although they provide more customisation options, they will incur the cost of a developer as well as any hosting fees.  Besides that, you also don’t get any customer service or automatic software updates.

CMS with a social network extension 

CMS platforms like WordPress or Drupal can be used to create a social media site with plugins. These plugins may be free. However, they are also limited in what you do and may be buggy. They’re also better suited to a social media website than a social media app.

Develop from scratch

In case you have the unique ideas that require the advanced technology, such as Snapchat’s VR filters. So the only option may be to create your app from scratch. Thus, hiring a specialized app development company will assist you in accomplishing this. However, this is the last option. Because it is also expensive and time-consuming.

Must-have features for Social Media Apps

Here are a few key things to keep in mind:


A personal profile in which users can inform information about themselves like name, location, and photos, and much more


Users are able to publish posts. Therefore, your user can share news and information with their friends and the larger community, as well as discuss topics.


This is a method for users to be notified of updates or something which they’ve been tagged in. For example, Push Notifications. This feature allows people to be updated on their mobile phones without having to log into your app.

Thanks to it, users can locate groups, topics, or any friends.

Friending options

In case users want to see updates in their news feed. They have to send a friend request or follow others.

The News Feed 

This is a main centre where users can see what’s going on in the lives of their friends, people, and groups that they follow.


This is a private messaging system. Thanks to it, users can chat privately, outside of a group. Therefore, users can comment on and participate in public posts within groups.

Uploading files

Users are able to upload media like images and videos.

A library of resources

This is the space for users to store relevant content assets like videos or PDFs. So it is easy to share in relevant spaces.

Subgroups and groups

The ability to create a group as well as subgroups. For example, in case your community or network is aimed toward people who enjoy photography. So you can create sub-groups that concentrate on photography, event photography, and so on.

Tools for moderation

This is one of the important parts in your own social network. Thanks to it, you don’t have to worry about random people trolling your Group or attempting to harm your company. Because the  moderation tools like shadow banning and comment editing, is a wonderful solution to eliminate any harmful activity.


People are becoming more familiar with watching live streams. A live streaming option should be available at all times. This is  a wonderful way to quickly connect with an audience.


The ability to tailor the appearance of your social network to reflect your brand. You can change the colors, fonts, and add your own logo, as well as change the domain name.


Your system should be highly secure and allow you to own and manage your data.


It’s critical for you to access data and analytics. Thus you can track where your users are sited, what device they’re using, and what content they’re engaging with the most. Thanks to all of them, you can provide the best user experience.

Admin Access

This kind of feature will help you in managing the site, blocking untrustworthy users, and performing other administrative functions.


Are you interested in monetizing your social network or community? If YES, having options for accomplishing this will be critical when developing your social network.

Advanced features for Social Media Apps

How to create a social media app

Face filters and AR

Snapchat and Instagram are the leaders in augmented reality and face filters. People still enjoy using funny face filters to add to the effect.

AI chatbots

These are automated chatbots which forecast and respond to questions.

Ephemeral content

This content which loses after 24 hours, like messages or stories. Once again, Snapchat and Instagram are the market leaders.

Quantitative metrics for a social media app

Acquisition: CPI & CAC

Cost Per Install (CPI) is determined by monitoring installs of users who came from adverts. It is computed by dividing the advertising expenses by the number of app installs.

Besides that, Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the total cost of all marketing efforts required to attract a customer. It determines whether or not a company has a viable business model. Thus, this metric indicates the potential for business expansion.

User activation

Active users compared to downloads. Furthermore, activation actions are customized for each application

Churn rate and user retention

User retention is calculated as the percentage of users who returned to the app after the first visit. In case a new update is released. So it is critical to check to see if retention has changed. Because this feature helps to determine what works and what does not in the new version.

The churn rate represents the number of customers who have abandoned the social media mobile app. The less visible it is, the better.

User engagement

It includes  Session Length and Interval. The first shows the time between when the user joined the app and left it. Besides that, the second shows the time between two sessions.


It displays patterns of user growth from month to month.

Burning rate

This rate shows the amount of money that the mobile app consumes (burns) each month. For example, server costs, marketing, staff, and so on. It illustrates a number of the resources at the organization’s disposal that are required to plan for future growth and fundraising.

So that is all about features you should consider for your app. And then we will go to answer the questions: “How to create a social media app?”

How to create a social media app?

Step 1: Determine your target audience and your goal.

Decide the concentration of your social media network. Simply having an idea for an app is insufficient to get you started. Therefore, you have to ake certain that you have a deep understanding of your market and the existing competition.

It’s critical to understand which features your potential users prefer and what your competition lacks.

After you’ve decided all of the above problems, it’s time to bring your ideas together. You’ll want to think about your options for user retention, as well as how you’ll develop and engage your community.

Step 2: Functions and features

Before you begin, make sure you know all of your limitations, budget, and development skills. Therefore, you can make sure all of the features are required at this early stage.

Determine what you want your app’s active users to do. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Do you want your users to have the ability to post updates like photos, videos or status? 
  • What kind of content are you want to put on the app? How will you assist people in finding that content?
  • Will you use Push Notifications to keep users interested in your app and content?
  • Will your app be a closed community, or will it be available for anyone to download and use?
  • What security measures will you implement to ensure that your app is as secure as possible for users?
  • Will you connect your app to other social networks in order to expand your reach?
  • Will your app allow users to create their own profiles?
  • Do you want to make geolocation available? Geolocation enables your app to determine where your users are.

Step 3: Design and development

After you’ve highlighted the key features and functionality of your app, you can begin designing and developing it.

You must decide your app to be available to Android users, Apple users, or both. However, both Android and Apple use distinct technological stacks.

Begin by wireframing your app. Therefore, your team can visualize  how the app works and which pages connect to one another.

The next step is to create a working model of the app, which is known as prototyping. It improves everyone’s understanding of the app. Moreover, your team has to put more effort during the final development process.

Step 4: Expand your community.

After you’ve finished developing your app, it’s time to get your users and begin building your community.

Consider your initial marketing requirements. How will you entice users to download your app? Which incentives will you provide to ensure they have the best possible experience while using it? Will you include real-life acquaintances? Don’t worry, we’ve got some pointers on how to do it down below.

Step 5: Examine

There are numerous analytics tools available to assist you in determining the success of your app. Thanks to them, you can see how long people spend on your app or how frequently they use it per week/month.

Keeping track of engagement can assist you in making effective changes for the future.

How to create a social media app for Android?

General information on social media app development on Android:

  • MVVM (model–view–viewmodel) is an architectural pattern.
  • Programming language: Previously, we only used Java to create Android apps, but now Kotlin is preferred for all new projects.
  • Google Play Services is the main framework used. It provides access to Google Services such as Firebase, Cloud Messages, In-App Purchases, Geolocation, and so on.
  • RxJava2 is mainly used for composing asynchronous operations.

To work with the UI Layer, we apply the following technology stack:

  • RecyclerView: is a native Android component that displays scrollable content (a list) to users. Therefore, it allows them to interact with the items on the list.
  • Fragments: is a native Android container that includes additional views and widgets. The main distinction between them and view containers is that fragments have their own lifecycle.

Technical Network layer implementations are completed with:

  • Retrofit for network requests
  • GSON for JSON parsing
  • Glide for image loading and caching
  • Dagger framework for dependency injections is used for code generation.
  • Analytics: A platform for collecting crash reports and limited app usage data.
  • Junit, Mockito, and Robolectric are for test frameworks.

It is the technical fundamental basis you must know if you want to learn how to create an Android social media app. Therefore, the table below explains in detail how to implement the basic features of an Android social app:

App featuresImplementation on Android
Social authorizationTwitterCore, Facebook SDK, Google Play services authentication
Posts creationNative Fragments
Posts likesOn the Post View, a Likes counter is implemented usingTextView. RecyclerView is used to create a list of likers.
Social notificationsRecyclerView was used for. We use the Spannable element to make text clickable.
Users profileIt is highly dependent on design. RecyclerView will be used if the app needs to display a profile with a list of the user’s recent activities. As a result, User Info will be a RecyclerView header. In other cases, it could simply be a Fragment with User Information.
SearchUsing RecyclerView.  The search field is created using the native EditText widget.
Push notification moduleFirebase Cloud Messages
AnalyticsFabric/Firebase Analytics

How to create a social media app for iOS?

General information on social media app development on iOS:

  • MVVM (model–view–viewmodel) is an architectural pattern.
  • Programming language: Swift
  • Frameworks: Dip framework 
  • Library: RxSwift

UI layer is created with the following technologies:

  • For creating type-safe table views and collection views, use DTTableViewManager/DTCollectionViewManager.
  • LoadableViews are used to create reusable view components.

Libraries used to construct the Network layer:

  • TRON/Alamofire is used to create network abstraction.
  • For parsing JSON responses, use Codable/SwiftyJSON.
  • AlamofireImage is used to load and cache images from the network.

Tools for automation and code generation:

  • Fastlane: deployment automation
  • SwiftGen: resource code generation
  • Sourcery: template code generation
  • SwiftLint: for coding style guidelines enforcement

Analytics: A fabric for gathering crash reports and performing minimal analytics.

Code generation: SwiftGen is used to generate code that works with storyboards, images, colors, fonts, and localizable strings. The boiler-plate code is generated by sourcery.

Guidelines: SwiftLint for enforcing coding guidelines.

Take a glance at the table below to learn How to create a social media app for iOS. It denotes the technologies used to implement specific app functions:

App featuresImplementation on iOS
Social authorizationFacebook SDK, Twitter SDK, Google+ SDK
FeedLoadableViews, RxSwift, DTTableViewManager, TRON/Alamofire
Posts creationCoreLocation framework, TRON/Alamofire
Posts likesLoadableViews, RxSwift, TRON/Alamofire
Social notificationsLoadableViews, RxSwift, DTTableViewManager, TRON/Alamofire
Users profileLoadableViews, RxSwift, TRON/Alamofire
SearchLoadableViews, RxSwift, DTTableViewManager, TRON/Alamofire
ChatFor communication with Rails ActionCable websockets, we use the SwiftActionCable websocket library. The CoreData framework is used for offline chat storage. RecyclerView
Push notification moduleUserNotifications Framework
AnalyticsAnalytics SDK

How much does it cost to create a social media app?

How much does it cost to create a social media app?

The cost of developing a social media app vary based on the path you take in terms of development. In case you want to use a SaaS or CMS solution. So the cost will be significantly lower and the time will be much shorter than using an open-source solution, which involves the expense of software, a developer, and paying for hosting.

If you want to build a social media application from scratch, you must include the cost of back-end development. This can take many months or even a year. Therefore, if you want to develop an app for either iOS or Android, these costs can vary from $94,500 for one platform (iOS or Android) to $152,850 for both 2 platforms.

How can you monetize your social media app?

If you’re curious how to monetize your social media app and profit from your investment, there are a few options.

Paid subscriptions

Many of your community members are willing to pay for a subscription if your content provides real value to them. You can provide a free version with good content. Besides that, you also can provide one or more paid versions with higher value content. Apple and Google payment systems make it incredibly simple to subscribe to an app-based community.

Physical purchases 

Members of your community who enjoy your brand will find it easier to buy directly from you. Therefore, you can use catchy slogans to directs to your online store and Shopify integration

Sponsored content

If you have a large number of engaged community members, how can your app reach out to them? Paid sponsorship is a method of monetizing your reach. 

In-app purchases

Do you have a course, ebook, clip, or audio file which you know your community members would pay for? So a llow them to unlock digital goods directly from your app through in-app purchases.

Events and activities

Use your community position to promote events and online experiences. So just simply connect them to your favored ticketing platform and begin selling.

Create a social media app with ArrowHiTech

It is not an easy task to create a social media app. However, we believe with awesome ideas, our experiences are sufficient to create a successful project that will meet your business objectives while also bringing truly loyal users. Thus, this is the solution for the question “How to create a social media app?” Therefore, if you don’t want to miss this opportunity to monetize, you have to catch our help with the best Application Development Services. Besides that, filling all your questions about your project or our services into this CONTACT FORM. We will give you the answers as soon as possible. 


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